In case you haven’t noticed yet, college goes by fast. Today you’re a freshman, but one day you will wake up a senior and wonder how you got there so quickly. The days might move slow – especially if you are in the middle of midterms or a bout of homesickness – but trust me, the years go fast.
These four years are truly unique. This phase of life is wonderful, full of fun and independence and freedom. But it’s also hard; sometimes it feels tedious or stagnant or painful. It’s been both the most fun and the most challenging time I have ever experienced.
Having woken up a senior for the last four weeks, I have been reflecting on how I actually did get here, and on what college has taught me. Here are the pieces of senior wisdom I have come up with.
Number One: Be aware that every quarter (or semester) is totally different from the last. There are new classes, new routines, new sources of fun, new friends, new stresses, new challenges, and new lessons. It’s hard to readjust so often, but once you are aware that no quarter is ever the same, it keeps life interesting.
Number Two: Make an effort to learn about yourself. College is supposed to give you the skills that you need to go into the workforce; what I didn’t realize is that college actually prepares you to go into life. You learn how to exist in the world as a better, more developed human. The most valuable things that I have learned here have been about who I am and how I interact with the world. So push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Work on growing as an individual just as much as you work on studying (or partying).
Number Three: If you ever start to believe that you are done learning, you are almost certainly wrong. Prepare for life to show you just how much more room for growth you have.
Number Four: Embrace vulnerability. Let your teachers, friends, and peers get to know you (and get to know them too). Let them in on who you are, what you feel, and what you believe. Let people be a part of your journey; listen to and learn from them.
Number Five: Challenge yourself. Challenge who you are, what you believe, and what you are taught. Don’t abandon, but challenge. Learn to think critically about the things that you or society in general have accepted as True. Don’t be afraid to change your perspective.
Number Six: Enjoy the ride. College is fun, but some days are going to suck. You’re probably in for a few meltdowns, maybe some bad hangovers, and possibly a couple of all nighters. But it’s a crazy and beautiful journey, so find the joy in as much of it as you can.
When I look back on my time in college (though I’m not quite finished yet), I see the ways that it has changed and shaped me. I see the growth I have experienced, and the growth that I still have yet to experience. And I feel very grateful. I hope that in four years, you feel grateful too.
Two Quarters Left